As an artiste, always know you have an edge to define your style of music and carve a niche that will announce your arrival into the music industry. If you think a mediocre performance will announce your presence in the industry, then you should rethink.
Think about it, there are so many musicians today, but only a few are successful.
I’m sure you also want to succeed. Think of the popular musicians today, whether, gospel or circular, they have a unique style that announces their performance. When you hear any of their songs, you can tell the artiste singing without seeing them.
That is the power of uniqueness.
This is the reason I took my time to study the life of Mike Okri, one of Nigeria’s legendary music icon who was unique to his style of music.
Mike Okri is a renowned Nigerian musician that is well known. His debut titled “Concert Fever” was a great phenomenon that brought a new dimension into the Nigerian Music Industry, in his time.
He is a Singer, Songwriter, Producer, Novelist and a Humanitarian that used music to express spirituality and culture while promoting African values. One of his award-winning album that topped the chart in the early nineties “Rhumba Dance’’ was recorded when he was in Sony Music in collaboration with Benson & Hedges Music (now defunct). Two years later, he released a third mind-blowing album, “Cracks”. He made his mark as one of Africa’s brightest stars.
Over the years, Mike won Awards in different categories, at different times in both the local and international scenes. Some of which include, Nigerian Music Awards (NMA) and Fame Music Awards (FMA), including the Pan-African Music Awards in Ghana, amongst others.
How did Mike Okri carve a niche for himself and sustained it over time? Here are simple steps he took and I believe if you take those steps, you get the same results:
1. He Had a Unique Style
There is a style that reigns in every generation. Most times a new artiste comes to the scene introducing a new style that reigns for a long time. Think of it, there was a time reggae sound was the in thing. The 70s and 80s where R&B was the ultimate. Also, remember the jazz era. A style of music might exist but may not be appreciated. As a new artiste your plan should be to draw people’s attention to that style of music by sticking to that style. Mike had a clear understanding of this as he announced his arrival into the music scene with his own unique style he calls “Afro Mystical Soul”. This is unique to Mike Okri because till date his sound still sounds unique.
2. He Understood the Power of the Media
As a graduate of Broadcast Journalism at TV College Jos, Plateau State Mike knew the media was the best medium to get to his audience. In the late 80s and early 90s, Mike had a heavy presence in the media, both on TV and on the radio. Yes, his songs were good, but he invested time and other resources in making sure that his songs were continuously being played on the media.
3. He is a Staunch Intellectual Property Crusader
Today, it is easy to identify songs with a similar sound. People don’t take the necessary steps to protect their intellectual work, they handle it with an indifferent attitude. No wonder they get little or nothing for their work. Mike Okri is a staunch Intellectual Property Crusader, who believes artiste intellectual property should be protected. This drive made him serve as a Director in the membership board of the Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria (MCSN) with King Sunny Ade as its presiding chairman.
4. He Had a Good Management
Having a good management plays a major role in the success of any artiste. This is because the artiste leaves the burden of management issues and focus on producing quality music that will appeal to his audience. The gives the artiste more time to practice and master his art, as management carry the burden of promoting and market the artiste songs. This was the same for Mike Okri, he was the first ever to be signed to CBS Records (Nigeria) now Sony Music.
Mike Okri still stands as one of Africa’s legendary icons because of his uniqueness. I will advise upcoming artiste to start out by being unique.